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As a child growing up in the country our summers were filled with activities from summer plays in the barn to picnics in the meadows and fun games with friends like kick the can and hide and seek. There was always something happening and all of this would fill our summer days.

One of my favorite thing was blue berry time, the wild blue berries come into season around the middle of July. This was one of grandma’s favorite adventures, she would arrive early in the morning in the old Buick with her garden hat and blue berry buckets and picnic basket in hand, she would line us up and ready her belt to hold her buckets so she could use both hands to pick, thus getting maximum picking coverage, in my mind she was a pro.

The wild blue berries grew in an old woodland meadow on the top of a hill and took a while to get to. The blue berry buckets that I spoke of where old tin lard cans about a gallon in size with handles and a tin lid to keep a full bucket from spilling. Gramma would remind us that the horse flies would be out so a hat or some kind of head cover was important.

As with most of our adventures with gramma there were things to learn and she would often point out the many wild flowers and mushrooms along the way to blue berry hill as we called it. We finally reach the clearing of the wood line and the view of free stand of cedars and wild junipers stood like soldiers watching over the treasures of blue. Here every where you looked the birds where flying about taking their share of the booty. Gramma would say this must be a good year for blue berries and she would begin picking. Like a well trained picker she would comb through the bushes leaving hardly a blue berry to the sight. After about two hours she would have us find the big stone grouping on the side of the hill in the shade, known as love rock, as some of the stories told to us, that this was one of mom and dads dating spots! Gramma always had lemon aid and sandwiches and we would listen to her tell us what she would bake with the harvest of the day. After another hour of picking she would check our buckets for fullness as most time we would eat more than we carried and as we denied the fact that we didn’t our blue tongue would always give us away.

Blue berries; Vaccinium, corymbosum, is the high bush blue berry and was the most abundant in the blue berry hill meadow. Blue berries grow in acidic peaty and or sandy soils, they enjoy moist but well drained conditions in full sun to partial shade. Tip; cover with bird netting just as they begin to ripen, for some reason the birds can tell when they are ripe for the picking and can clean a bush of berries in minutes. I would also suggest you plant several varieties together for good berry performance. So picking several kinds can make for great pies.

As the late day of blue berrying, came to and end, we would begin our long walk home, with our half filled buckets and gramma with her two very filled buckets proclaiming she will make the best blue berry muffins ever with this years berries. How I look back to those days in blue berry hill and the stories of love rock and the time spent with family and feel so blessed to have those moments to remember.

A thought; Making memories and moments to remember are special indeed.

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